Newly elevated Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Samuel Atung, has said some judges’ issuing of conflicting orders and other professional misconducts are capable of eroding the confidence of the public in the judiciary.
Atung, who briefed newsmen on the sideline of a reception organised for him on his elevation to the rank of a SAN at the weekend, said it was disheartening that such judges do not abide by the ethics of their callings, saying that such professional misconduct of issuing conflicting judgements is capable of bringing the judiciary to disrepute before the eyes of the general public.
He said there was no need for any judge to issue a conflicting order especially when the case has to do with political matters because the provisions of the Electoral Act are very clear.
Last Thursday, the National Judicial Council (NJC) sanctioned three judges for issuing conflicting orders. They were barred from being promoted for between two and five years while they also received warning letters from the apex judicial authority.
Atung said that he was ready to mentor younger lawyers to attain SANship position since he was a beneficiary of mentorship by notable SANs in the country with special mention of Emmanuel Toro, SAN.
He said, “I always have my opinion about indiscriminate decision ex-parte order, especially political related cases. Successive chief justices of the federation and even the National Judicial Council have made several pronouncements against the issuance of conflicting court orders.
“Any political issue, the provisions of the Electoral Act are very clear. And it is to the effect that no court should issue an order restraining the conduct of an election during party primary.
“However, it is very disheartening that you discover that judges issuing exparte orders at the 11th hour either restraining the conduct of an election or a political party from presenting a particular candidate who has won his primary election.
“So, I think what the chief justice of the federation is doing is quite in order, perfect order. A situation whereby a judge issued a conflicting order on the same matter, it is really disheartening. It will actually bring the judiciary to disrepute,” Atung said.
The new SAN also added, “I dedicate my elevation to the Almighty God because it is a privilege to be a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). Who am I that God has bestowed this honour on me?
“If you undergo a tutelage in a reputable law firm you stand a better chance of making it to the rank of Senior Advocate than those who did not. I will try as much as possible to mentor the younger ones to aspire to the rank of SAN. I have benefited from mentorship by notable SANs. It therefore behooves on me to hand down to the younger lawyers what I have benefited from mentorship.”
Earlier, the acting governor of Kaduna State, Dr Hadiza Balarabe who was represented by the deputy chief of staff, James Kanyip at the dinner, expressed happiness with the new SAN.
“This is no mean feat. You got to this position from a humble background. God elevated you for a purpose, to serve humanity. Just be yourself and do your best and move on,” she said.
In his remarks as the chairman of the event, the minority whip, House of Representatives, Hon Gideon Gwani, said, “The day I realised my brother was elevated to SAN, so many questions came to mind, what does it take to become a SAN, and at what age? And I realised that to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, you need to be a man of integrity.
“I also realised that we lack mentorship, but if we have mentors, a good number of lawyers will go places in their careers. Your position is service to humanity without religious and ethnic bias,” he said.
Also in his remarks, the guest speaker, who is the executive secretary, Federal Character Commission, Muhammad Bello Tukur said, “I have been with Atung for the past 35 years as friends and students at ABU Zaria. I share a lot of things in common with Atung. We came from a rural background.
“Rural communities work very hard to feed, send children to school. We cannot afford to be at each other’s throat. People are scared of going to the farm, school and market,” Tukur said.